Electrochemical Reduction of Carbon Dioxide to Useful Chemical Intermediates


Top: Direct electrosynthesis<br/>Bottom: Indirect/mediated electrosynthesis
Top: Direct electrosynthesis
Bottom: Indirect/mediated electrosynthesis
Mainstream Engineering Corporation
Website:  Mainstream Engineering Corporation
Award Number:  SC0017105
Project Duration:  02/21/2017 – 05/20/2020
Total Award Value:  $1,154,381
DOE Share:  $1,154,381
Performer Share:  $0
Technology Area:  Carbon Use and Reuse
Key Technology:  Chemical Conversion
Location:  Rockledge, Florida

Project Description

Mainstream Engineering Corporation (MEC) is developing an innovative electrosynthesis process that incorporates their gas diffusion electrode (GDE) technology and utilizes carbon dioxide (CO2), captured from coal-fired power plant flue gas, to produce fuels or chemical precursors. Investigation is underway for two approaches: (1) a direct CO2 electron transfer process at the electrode, which provides a path for the electrosynthesis of fuels (e.g., formic acid, methanol, or methane), and (2) an indirect approach that transfers the activated CO2 to an organic precursor to form a carboxylic acid (carboxylic acids are valuable and important precursors used in polymers, pharmaceuticals, agrichemicals, and cosmetics). MEC is leveraging their experience in liquid fuel cell electrode fabrication to design a GDE to benefit either approach and maximize target yield, efficiency, and reaction rate. In Phase I, electrocatalysts will be selected, synthesized, and optimized; a cathode structure will be fabricated and integrated into a test cell; and the overall efficiency and durability of the electrolysis for CO2 conversion will be measured. The results will be used to develop a preliminary design and techno-economic model.

Project Benefits

The innovative electrosynthesis process will utilize CO2 captured from coal-fired power plants and provide an energy-efficient path for the production of valuable chemicals and fuels.

Contact Information

Federal Project Manager 
Bruce Lani: bruce.lani@netl.doe.gov
Technology Manager 
Lynn Brickett: lynn.brickett@netl.doe.gov
Principal Investigator 
Philip Cox: pcox@mainstream-engr.com

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